How common is VWD

VWD is the most common inherited bleeding disorder in the world. It affects both males and females from all racial backgrounds.

Nearly all people with VWD are born with the disorder as VWD is usually inherited from family. Sometimes VWD will show up when the person is young, but many people have such mild symptoms they don’t know they have it. Sometimes people don’t find out until they are adults and have a problem with heavy bleeding after a serious accident or having teeth taken out or surgery. Sometimes people find out when a relative is diagnosed and it is suggested that they are tested as well.

More than 2,450 people have been diagnosed with VWD in Australia, but research suggests that many others are not yet diagnosed.

Most people with VWD have a mild form. In comparison to the number of people with VWD with the mild form, the form causing moderate bleeding problems is uncommon, and the severe form of VWD is rare.

However, it is important to remember that there can be bleeding problems with all forms of VWD and any bleeding that occurs with VWD needs to be assessed and treated. 

Does 'mild' mean few bleeding episodes? Not always. With all forms of VWD there can be bleeding problems. Some people with the mild form bleed quote often, eg with nosebleeds, bruising and heavy periods.

Date last reviewed: 27 March 2023